I am more than my reproductive organs.

Recent politics, both in Australia and in the US, have left me shaking my head.

And pounding the table.

I glimpsed an ad online for Barack Obama during the 2012 US elections. Young women and girls saying please vote for me…in that a vote for Obama would be a vote for women and women’s rights.

Because  all that we women are concerned with are birth control and abortions, right? God forbid we have other issues on our mind, that we think about education or the economy.

Recently, too, in Australia, we have Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her team implying that the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, has a problem with women because, wait for it, he is deemed to be a conservative who makes statements such  as “Abortion should be safe. legal and rare.” Oh. Again all we women care about is abortion.

Did the Opposition come out and say the obvious, that women’s’rights are important but are not based solely on reproductive issues? No, to prove their solidarity with women, we were regaled with stories on IVF and support for IVF. Because that’s what women want, that is all that women want, isn’t it?

As a woman, I find all this insulting.

I am a thinking person. I make  a contribution to education, to the community, I struggle to balance a budget,  to pay all my bills, to bring up children, to help my teen and young adult sons, to study, to balance my life. I have opinions about world affairs. Not just about contraception and abortion.

And don’t tell me that I am a privileged woman so of course I can say this, of course, therefore,  I am not concerned solely with reproductive issues, that less fortunate women than I have to be concerned with these and these alone. Don’t tell me about the poor women in Third World countries. Don’t feed me this manure.

Women in Third World countries, and women living in poverty, don’t need us to help them abort their babies. They need food and work and education and thus a promise for a better future for their daughters and for their sons.

Let us also call a spade a spade and say that neither Obama, Gillard or Abbott are talking to Third World voters.

Too,  I am less than privileged. I came from  a poor single parent  family, I worked hard to educate myself , I have a large family so I know the strains and joys of children, I work very hard to support  my family, I am classed by the Australian Government as a low income earner and don’t own a house or use air conditioning or have two cars or other seeming luxuries of our Western world, I frankly am not sure about money for now and for my old age.

Reducing my issues, reducing women’s issues to contraception and abortion, to reproductive issues, denies some of the real issues we women face in the real world..time. education, self esteem, work, money.

And it denies my ability, women’s ability, to think  and to care about both family and health issues and the wider political view.

I am more than my reproductive organs.

We women are  more than this. We are mothers, we can be mothers, we care for family, but our most pressing issues are not contraception and abortion.They are education and work and money. Address these as women’s issues and don’t cImageontinue to put down the true rights  and needs of women.

Catholicism, Life, Unschooling

I’ve been meaning to write a blog post….

I’ve been meaning to write a blog post about philosophy of education. Of how John Holt influenced our homeschool way back when and influenced our high school homeschool and influences me even now.

I keep meaning to write a blog post about community and how simply repeating the word many times during Mass or during a homily does not build community. No, community is built by who we are and what we do.

I keep meaning to write a blog post about all that I am learning about stress and self care and sacraments and life. The help of God’s Grace. He sees us through.

My time is limited, however. So I will instead write a blog post about learning all the time.

Learning all the time. Learning that never stops.

That’s a fruit of unschooling. It may be university holidays, it may be the Christmas and summer break but we still pick up books and experiences and we learn.

We are passionate about learning.

I’m reading, self improvement books and The Happiness Project and Consoling the Heart of Jesus. Experimenting with cooking fresh foods and using what’s to hand. Trying new workouts, fusion workouts. And a new hair colour.

I see sons watching movies for plot and techniques, in preparation for a university course on film. Attending a university summer school in Koine Greek. Reviewing Latin. Practising scales on the piano. Learning new songs for piano and guitar. Learning Portuguese in preparation for WYD and saving like mad to get there. Doing extra work to pay for university textbooks (a family affair). Writing blog posts and short stories. Reading PG Wodehouae and Jerome K Jerome. Watching Tuck Everlasting.

There’s no distinction here between learning and non learning times, between have to and want to. Learning is like breathing.

And that’s the legacy of unschooling. Learning all the time.

It was a goal, when we began unschooling, that the boys see learning  as part of life, that they find passions and interests and pursue them and that life not be measured solely by achievements but also by who they are and what they believe, actions portraying what really is inside.

I think we are there. Those passions, that interest in learning and doing and researching and sharing, that is there.

John Holt was right. Children will learn in an environment of learning, with people and places and things, not curriculum.

This is my blog post. Learning all the time.